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Topwater Time At Lake of the Ozarks

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There's no greater thrill in bass fishing than watching a calm surface
suddenly explode and your topwater lure instantly vanish.

     This scene will be played out many times this month  as the waters become warm enough to activate bass into
feeding on top. May has always been a prime topwater time for me on
my home impoundment, the Lake of the Ozarks. My favorite  springtime
topwater lure is the Heddon Zara Spook, but I've also caught plenty
of bass on the surface with topwater chuggers and propellor baits.

    A number of factors stimulate bass into striking at objects on the
surface during late spring. Mike Kruse, MDC fisheries biologist, suggests
this time of year, particularly in a bass' post spawn stage,  is a
period of heavy feeding when  water temperatures are optimum for largemouth
bass and  food is abundant. "It's just an overall period of optimum
conditions for growth and feeding   when bass' metabolisms  are running
full bore  and they are looking  for food," the biologist says.

    Bass might be looking toward the surface  during this time because
a lot of terrestrial  insects, such as  locusts  and grasshoppers,
fall in the water,  Kruse says. But probably the main reason why male
bass key in on the surface during May  is to protect their fry. "A
lot of times the fry hover just under  the surface, so the adult males
tend to be fairly close to the surface anyway," says Kruse.

    These fish also tend to be extremely aggressive  and  strike at anything
that approaches them along the surface.  The speed at which you work a topwater lure during this time of year
depends on the water temperature.  Typically, the cooler the water,
 the slower the  retrieve.

    A multitude of boat docks makesLake of the Ozarks an ideal place to fish
topwater lures in May. Bass use these floating structures for cover
throughout the spawning cycle.

    Bass tend to congregate at the back ends of docks in the first half
of the month, depending on the spawning conditions. During the post-spawn
 later in the month, some bass can still be found behind the docks,
but others tend to move out to the sides or even the front of the
floating structures where they suspend over sunken brush piles or
under the dock's foam.   When fishing behind the docks, throw
your topwater lures on braided line to cut down on line breakage if
you hook a fish next to the dock's cables.  

    In early May, the water temperature is usually in the upper 50s to
low 60s so  slowly retrieve topwater chuggers, such as Rebel
Pop-R's or Storm Lures Rattlin' Chug Bugs. You can also  catch sluggish
bass by slowly  swimming or twitching a floating minnow across the
surface.  By the end of the month swutch to Zara Spooks,
buzz baits and topwater propellor plugs that he works at a faster
pace since the water has warmed into the 70-degree range.

    The backs of pockets and coves are productive topwater areas. Look for dark-color bottoms which tend to hold heat better
and warm the water faster.  Most bass gather on the pea-gravel banks
during the spawn and then move to the chunk rock banks  during the
post-spawn.   Areas close to deep water are best. Even when fishing
in coves, concentrate on the areas where there is 15 to 18 feet
of water in the back end.  In addition to targeting docks, you can also
throw your topwater lures around any lay-downs or any brush piles
he sees along the shoreline.

     The lake's size allows you to move from one area
 to another and enjoy prime topwater fishing for three weeks to a
month.  The best areas for topwater fishing are in the clear-water
mid and lower sections of the lake.

    For  information on lodging and other facilities   at the Lake
of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the
Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE
 or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web
site at funlake.com.
Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide"
are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.



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Hmm....Thought it would have been too early to be throwing top water this past weekend at LOZ.  Guess I should have tried.  Had one tied on but never threw it.

-- Jim

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. -- Doug Larson

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Had 3 on whopper plopper and a couple on spook but no big girls. Fishing was tough on us fishing from 24 to 31 mm. Saw stats that only 16% of checks cashed were from that area, figures. What was nice, the fishing pressure was not to awful bad compared to gravois area but we struggled.


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7 hours ago, Moneill17 said:


wonder what that same lake map would look like if you overlayed number of fisherman?  You think 50% of entries fished btw bagnel and Shawnee bend?



Like Mike said, bet pretty close. Had a buddy fish up in Shawnee bend area and he said it was a zoo with all the fishing boats along with the big boats.

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